Last week we broke from the Sermon on the Mount to talk of our national heritage. We talked specifically about those who have served our country as patriots. George Washington in his farewell address said,
“Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.”
One must ask the question then, “Where has the connection to religion and morality gone?” We made the point last week that it was exactly these things that veterans fought for, fight for now, and should fight for in the future – freedom of religion throughout our government, not the exemption of religion in our government. If George Washington counted religion and morality as “great pillars of human happiness,” and the “firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens” should not we too be teaching these very things to our children, to our society, to our nation as a whole? Our nation is nowhere made great with rebellion, but only in submission to the power of God. No one, therefore, is a true patriot, according to George Washington, that is not acting in a fashion that reflects a cherished support and personal respect born from a religious morality. This heritage is what we fought for – our national slogan is not “in humans we trust” but “In God We Trust.”
We looked at four things that would bring our nation back from the edge of failure, where we are now. First, we must humble ourselves and teach the humility of Christ to others. Jesus Himself came not to judge, but to serve. Jesus came and washed His disciples’ feet. He did not expect His to be cared for – He expected rejection. Christ’s humility is perfect and is ultimately shown in Philippians 2 where, even though He was God, He made Himself lower than even the angels to save us. He left His heavenly home and became flesh to save us.
Second – pray. Prayer acknowledges God as God. It indicates subservience to a greater power and being. Placing ourselves as subservient to God is an act of humility. Pray. Pray for your people, your families, and your country. Pray every day and place yourself in humble service to God.
Third – seek His face. The message on Sunday was for veterans. I made the point that as a military man, you do not go before the Commanding Officer on your own terms. You approach him or her respectfully, with solemnity, and on their terms. You request permission to go before them and when you are there, you do not waste their time. Seeking God’s face must be done on His terms. We are required to be pure, to be clean, to be perfect in order to approach God. The only way to approach God then is through His Son such that you can be made pure, clean, and perfect. Many people want to say they “believe in God” but 1 John 2, verses 22 and 24 (sermon on this text here and here) make it clear that this claim is empty alone. You either accept both the Son and the Father or you have nothing. You approach the Father only through the Son. Those are His terms.
Fourth – Turn from your wicked ways. We must turn from sin and this world and turn to God. We must give up our own desires, our own lusts, our own personal squabbles, and attitudes and turn to God for all things in life. My challenge was to veterans to get pure, turn from drinking, turn from the hateful attitude toward a nation that has forsaken them, turn from the womanizing and thinking they deserve anything. Turn from the prideful heart and turn to God in humility, seeking His Son, and seeking His face.
Then, when His people do this He will hear their pleas. God will forgive their sins. God will heal the land. Only with humility, prayer, seeking God’s face, and turning from wickedness is this promise fulfilled.
Part of our humility, prayer, seeking God, and turning from wickedness is giving up ourselves and giving all the praise, faith, ability, and miracle work to God for His miraculous provision. We, when operating in what we call reality, tend to look at what is before us and see the limitations in those things. We tend to see only that which is in the physical world. We often lack any vision of the great things God can do. We want desperately for the liberal to be denied the ability to remove miraculous things from theology. Yet, we look at the material things in the world, limit our thoughts to them alone, and deny those very miracles that we fight strenuously to maintain. We want nothing of man trying to explain scientifically how the 10 plagues may have occurred, yet we are not willing to exercise faith and watch the mountain be moved ourselves. We cannot have it both ways and today we will look at our dualistic and denying hearts in the scriptures from the perspective of the disciples themselves.
We find this contrast in the passage around our target verse today when we read John 6:5-14. We will concentrate on John 6:11. As you turn there, please understand I am not advocating some wanton run amok way of dealing with giving. I am advocating applying an operative faith in how we administer our resources. We will look at this not only from the perspective of what we are given by God, but what we should do with it based upon God’s miraculous multiplication. We should note that in this passage, the miraculous multiplication is not unseen, but right before their very eyes. Continue reading